Jump to content

Salton Sea to get federal drought funds - Hurrah to OffroaderX!


MichaelLAX
 Share

Recommended Posts

Kudos to @OffRoaderXfor his efforts on behalf of the Salton Sea!

Salton Sea to get Federal Drought Funds - LA Times

Watch Randy's efforts documented here

 

Salton Sea to get federal drought funds

Government will spend $250 million on cleanup, restoration 

at the drying lake.

c6fde15f-6b79-44ad-866a-ed90ab151f2e.jpg
TIM LYONS, left, a professor at UC Riverside; doctoral student Caroline Hung; and Charlie Diamond, a postdoctoral fellow at the school, use a corer to collect sediment samples from the Salton Sea lake bottom last year. (Irfan Khan Los Angeles Times)

By Kathleen Ronayne

SACRAMENTO — The federal government said Monday it will spend $250 million over four years on environmental cleanup and restoration work around a drying Southern California lake that’s fed by the depleted Colorado River. 

The future of the Salton Sea — and who is financially responsible for it — has been a key issue in discussions over how to stave off a crisis in the Colorado River. The lake was formed in 1905 when the river overflowed, creating a resort destination that slowly morphed into an environmental disaster as water levels receded, exposing residents to harmful dust and reducing wildlife habitat.

The lake is largely fed by runoff from farms in California’s Imperial Valley, who use Colorado River water to grow many of the nation’s winter vegetables as well as feed crops such as alfalfa. As the farmers reduce their water use, less flows into the lake. California said it would reduce its reliance on the over-tapped river only if the federal government put up money to mitigate the effects of less water flowing into the sea.

“It’s kind of a linchpin for the action we need to see on the Colorado River,” said Wade Crowfoot, California’s natural resources secretary. “Finally we are all in agreement that we can’t leave the Salton Sea on the cutting room floor; we can’t take these conservation actions — these extraordinary measures — at the expense of these residents.”

The deal announced Monday needs approval from the Imperial Irrigation District, the largest user of Colorado River water. The water entity’s board will take it up Tuesday. 

Both the district’s general manager and board member JB Hamby applauded the deal Monday.

“The collaboration happening at the Salton Sea between water agencies and state, federal, and tribal governments is a blueprint for effective cooperation that the Colorado River Basin sorely needs,” Hamby said in a statement.

The $250 million will come out of the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, which set aside $4 billion to stave off the worst effects of drought across the U.S. West. Most of the money is contingent on the Imperial Irrigation District and the Coachella Valley Water District making good on their commitments to reduce their own use of river water. Both submitted proposals to cut back their use for payment as part of a new federal program.

The quarter-billion dollars will largely go to bolster and speed up existing state projects designed to lower the negative environmental impact of the drying lake bed. 

The state has committed nearly $583 million to projects at the sea, including dust suppression and habitat restoration. One project aims to create wetlands and ponds that will limit dust from blowing into the air while creating safe spaces for fish and birds, according to the state.

The deal comes as the U.S. Interior Department and the seven states that rely on the river — California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming — scramble to stave off the worst effects of the ongoing drought and historic overuse of the river. Lakes Powell and Mead, the key reservoirs that store river water and provide hydropower across the West, are only about a quarter full.

After months of failed negotiations over a deal to drastically cut water use, the federal government in October said it would pay farmers and cities to cut back through activities such as leaving fields unplanted or lining canals to prevent water from seeping into the ground. Proposals were due this month. Meanwhile, the Interior Department has taken steps to unilaterally revise guidelines that govern when water shortages are declared, a move that could force states to further cut back. 

The Salton Sea, meanwhile, became its own political flash point in October when Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly, then up for reelection, urged the federal government to withhold any environmental cleanup money unless California agreed to give up more water. That prompted criticism he was using communities that already suffer from poor air quality as a bargaining chip.

The agreement marks a good step forward, but key details still need to be fleshed out, said Frank Ruiz, Salton Sea program director for Audubon California. He worries that $250 million is not enough to mitigate all of the damage already done at the sea. 

“This is a great step, but I think we need a lot more,” he said. “We need to continue discussing water sustainability in the region.”

Broadly, he wants to see a more equitable distribution of the region’s water supplies and hopes the Salton Sea gets a guaranteed minimum amount of water even as overall use declines.

Ronayne writes for the Associated Press.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course this is great, but it is just a tiny step in the right direction.. Salton Sea will need at least this much if not more EVERY YEAR just to prevent it from turning into a trash-hole.. Sadly, this will not "save" the sea or do anything significant to prevent/stop the looming toxic-dust issue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good on you for your efforts to bring attention to this Randy. 👍 A small win, but still a win.   I don’t know much about the lithium mining they have been talking about but I was wondering if you have thoughts on it? Is there any hope that that might bring any money or help to the overall situation?  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, WRUU653 said:

Good on you for your efforts to bring attention to this Randy. 👍 A small win, but still a win.   I don’t know much about the lithium mining they have been talking about but I was wondering if you have thoughts on it? Is there any hope that that might bring any money or help to the overall situation?  

Lithium mining will be great for the local economy, but it wont really help the big problem of the lake drying up and exposing toxic dust..  The lithium mining companies would prefer it if the lake was dried up because lithium mining (which is more like oil-drilling than 'mining') is easier on a dry lake bed than it is underwater.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, Sshannon said:

I agree, Randy, that your work has truly helped spotlight a problem. 
I can’t pretend to understand all the moving parts, especially political in nature. I feel that the Salton Sea is just a symptom of a far greater problem. 

let me boil down the political part for you:

  • Potential major health/ecological disaster known and looming since 2000 or so. If not prevented will adversely affect the health of millions of people from Los Angeles to Phoenix
  • The State of California passes a bill in 2003, which among other things assures us all that everything will be fine by 2017
  • 2017 comes and goes with nothing done OTHER than millions of $$ spent on "studies" to prove what everybody already knows
  • 2022 and now doing anything will be 10 years too late, and any solution will cost 10X more to 'fix' than it would have cost to prevent.. Most estimates say $5-$10 billion- Instead of taking any action, the State of California spends $15-Billion $$ on the worlds slowest bullet train to nowhere, that nobody will ever use.

Basically, nobody in Sacramento gives a sh!t, and they've been kicking the can down the road for 20 years.

I'm moving to Utah, to everyone stuck in So.Cal/So.Arizona, good luck!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, OffRoaderX said:

Lithium mining will be great for the local economy, but it wont really help the big problem of the lake drying up and exposing toxic dust..  The lithium mining companies would prefer it if the lake was dried up because lithium mining (which is more like oil-drilling than 'mining') is easier on a dry lake bed than it is underwater.

Thank you for your reply. I was cautiously hoping they would find a way to have the mining help fund solving the water issue. Utah by the way is looking at similar issues with the Great Salt Lake drying up. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, WRUU653 said:

Utah by the way is looking at similar issues with the Great Salt Lake drying up. 

I dont know the details of the Great Salt Lake, but I dont believe it has 100+ years of agricultural runoff feeding the lake to create the toxic dust if it dries up, like at Salton Sea.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, OffRoaderX said:

I dont know the details of the Great Salt Lake, but I dont believe it has 100+ years of agricultural runoff feeding the lake to create the toxic dust if it dries up, like at Salton Sea.

 For over a century, the lake bed sediments have been slowly accumulating byproducts of human activities like mining, smelting and agricultural runoff. We've seen that the dust may contain elevated levels of potentially toxic heavy metals and manmade organic chemicals.

The soil contains arsenic, antimony, copper, zirconium and other dangerous heavy metals, much of it residue from mining activity in the region. Most of the exposed soil is still protected by a hard crust. But as wind erodes the crust over time, those contaminants become airborne.

Just a few lines of info out there. I did say similar. I became aware of it after seeing your documentary.  I have a stepson in Salt Lake City so we have been paying attention to the area. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/30/2022 at 4:11 PM, back4more70 said:

Good for you!  I'm packing up for Wyoming, where NOBODY lives.

hope ur ready for the wind....we had 100+mph winds hear at the wyo/colo border yesterday and this is a normal winter thing. with i25 being shut down all the time... guess im a nobody....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 minutes ago, serrasalmus said:

hope ur ready for the wind....we had 100+mph winds hear at the wyo/colo border yesterday and this is a normal winter thing. with i25 being shut down all the time... guess im a nobody....

Just to be clear, I’m not laughing at your weather situation but the “guess I’m a nobody” comment. I was wondering how long before someone chimed in on that. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, serrasalmus said:

hope ur ready for the wind....we had 100+mph winds hear at the wyo/colo border yesterday and this is a normal winter thing. with i25 being shut down all the time... guess im a nobody....

Windmill farm in Wyoming to provide electricity to California

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@OffRoaderX watched your video on the Salton Sea. It’s amazing how many lakes are drying up. Makes me wonder how many others have been used for governmental test sites without revealing what was dumped in the waters. 
 

Good job on making this issue public. 
 

Also, as a side note, really enjoyed all your Rock Crawler videos. Made me appreciate Jeeps and what they could endure. (And, like your videos on radios, kind of makes me want one of those wranglers, too...😋 )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For those wondering, I have two (main) videos about Salton Sea:


1) My walk around the (California's largest) lake in summer temps of 120°F (hour long documentary) :

 

2: What the U.S. military left behind at the bottom of Salton Sea (30 minute long documentary):

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Guidelines.